ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex “Little Rock” Silva captured his world title last December. Now, the time has come for him to defend it.
This coming Saturday, 12 May, the Brazilian will defend the coveted belt against the very man he defeated for it – Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito – in the main event of ONE: GRIT AND GLORY, which takes place from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
Before this epic rematch goes down, let’s take a look back at three of Silva’s most impressive victories.
A World-Class Kneebar
Silva sought to apply his strengths early in the contest, and quickly shot in for a takedown.
Catalan showed remarkable takedown defense to deny the attempt, which resulted in a tie-up against the fence. “Little Rock” was undeterred, and once again shot for a takedown. After another brief struggle, his efforts paid off, and he dragged the affair to the canvas.
The pair engaged in a series of scrambles, as Silva hunted for submissions, and Catalan looked for opportunities to drop ground strikes. After a wild display of grappling, “Little Rock” found what he was looking for – he locked up his foe’s leg, and forced him to tap with a beautiful kneebar. The end came at 3:53 of the first round.
In March 2016, he earned the Catalan hat-trick when he submitted yet another sibling, Robin Catalan.
Submitting An Unbeaten Grappler In Seconds
When Silva stepped into the cage with previously-unbeaten Japanese wrestler Hayato Suzuki at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD in November 2017, he was expected to have one of the toughest challenges of his career.
Instead, it ended up being a quick-fire victory for the Brazilian star.
Though Suzuki completed the first takedown of the contest in seconds, the crafty “Little Rock” was able to initiate a scramble. As the pair frenetically jostled for position, Silva locked up the Japanese wrestler’s arm, straightened it out, applied pressure, and coaxed the tap.
Despite the scale of this task, Silva had his hand raised after a mere 82 seconds. This victory was impressive enough for him to earn a shot at Yoshitaka Naito, and his strawweight world title belt.
Claiming World Title Gold
At ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD in December 2017, Silva stepped into the cage for a battle with another unbeaten Japanese grappler. This time, it was against reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito, and the belt was on the line.
Though Silva had more than proven his propensity for quick finishes, he could not achieve such an outcome in this match. Instead, he proved something that was perhaps even more impressive – that he is capable of competing for five hard rounds when his opponent refuses to quit.
The initial segments of this bout were contested on the feet. During this phase of the contest, Silva was able to land a number of hard leg kicks. The accumulated damage began to slow his opponent down and open him up to punches. One of these strikes – an expertly-timed cross in the third round – even dropped the Japanese titleholder.
As the pair approached the championship rounds, it looked as though “Little Rock” was on his way to a blowout win.
Showing a true world champion’s spirit, however, Naito gradually began to force a momentum shift with his grappling. He landed several takedowns, applied constant pressure, and even threatened with a guillotine choke.
The Brazilian proved he is far more than a quick finisher, however. Silva hung tough, and avoided any danger of a comeback from “Nobita.” As a result, he was awarded a unanimous decision victory, and the ONE Strawweight World Title.